The sharp increase in holiday sickness claims has led the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to issue a warning notice that reminds solicitors of their duty to make sure that any claims they are handling are valid and have been brought to them in the right way.
Reiterating its code of conduct in the warning notice, the SRA has said that solicitors must properly assess the evidence and advise clients on the strength of their cases. They must also properly identify clients, and make sure claims have not been delivered to them as a result of cold calling.
The warning comes after the Claims Management Regulator passed information to the SRA about 31 law firms that had potentially improper referral arrangements with claims management companies. The payment of referral fees in holiday sickness claims is banned.
Paul Philip, the SRA’s chief executive, said: “This issue is very much of concern at the moment and we want to make sure that solicitors do not get caught up in bringing false claims. We expect all solicitors to act with the utmost integrity.
“Our new warning notice makes it clear that any solicitor handling holiday sickness claims must carry out proper due diligence and make sure they advise clients properly and are dealing with a genuine case where the client is seeking legal help of their own accord.”
Statistics from The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) have shown a 500% increase in holiday sickness claims in the last four years.